Anti-Semitism, football and that Daily Mail article

A guest post by Richard Millett

If you are at White Hart Lane today to see Spurs v West Ham you risk being arrested for singing “Yid Army” or “Yiddoes”, typical refrains of the Spurs faithful.

Not an ounce of malice is intended, but just because a few with fame and influence, like David Baddiel, have complained about “Yid” being used in this context the Metropolitan Police have taken a stand starting with today’s game.

I’m Jewish. I like hearing Spurs sing “Yid army”. No harm is intended. It is a bit of fun. Spurs have a lot of Jewish supporters and have a Jewish chairman, Jewish directors and once had a Jewish manager in David Pleat. Spurs fans are embracing that positively.

It is a far cry from calling someone a “dirty Yid” which is obviously racist. That prefix makes all the difference.

It is sad that the police have been taken in by Baddiel. When playing Spurs certain opposition fans chant “Spurs are on their way to Belsen” (some Leeds United fans) or hiss to imitate the sound of Zyklon B being thrown into the gas chambers by the Nazis (some Chelsea fans). That’s racism. Arrest those racist thugs, but not Spurs fans who intend no racism at all.

It’s not just Baddiel. The British public is being taken in by the likes of Owen Jones and Jonathan Freedland who are crying “anti-Semitism!” due to that Daily Mail article headlined “The Man Who Hated Britain” about Ralph Miliband, Ed Miliband’s father.

Ralph was Jewish. He was a refugee. He was a Communist thinker. Any of these three aspects have been deadly for Jews in the past, admittedly.

But, does this now mean that we cannot criticise a Jewish person with Ralph’s background, or any Jewish person?

This is Owen Jones:

“As others have pointed out, this whole episode reeks of anti-Semitism – of the rootless cosmopolitan Jew with contempt for his country, and so on.”

Even Ed Miliband who has spent the week coming to his father’s defence on radio, tv and in print, doesn’t sense any anti-Semitism in the affair, but to Jones it “reeks” of anti-Semitism? Wow!

Jonathan Freedland digs even deeper in his attempt to make the “anti-Semitic” label stick:

“This is why I…stopped at the reference in Tuesday’s editorial to “the jealous God of Deuteronomy.” That looked like another veiled pointer to both Miliband Sr’s indelible alienness – and his membership of an ancient, vengeful people.”

This is what the Mail actually wrote on that score:

“We do not maintain, like the jealous God of Deuteronomy, that the iniquity of the fathers should be visited on the sons. But when a son with prime ministerial ambitions swallows his father’s teachings, as the younger Miliband appears to have done, the case is different.”

So the Mail is using this biblical reference as an example of what generally shouldn’t happen. That’s all. Based on Freedland’s assertion we should now be careful lest we associate any biblical reference directly or indirectly with a Jewish person. How sad.

And Marc Goldberg is easily influenced by Daniel Trilling’s attack on the Mail in the New Statesman. Trilling writes “The subtext…is that there’s something foreign about Ed Miliband himself”. Goldberg empathises:

“..if even Ralph Miliband, the Marxist who left his Judaism way behind him and sired the head of the Labour Party could come under attack for not being British enough, then maybe the rest could too.”

Even Charles Moore accuses the Mail of “attacking a Jew”!

There are many other examples of this hyperbolic response to the Mail’s attack on Ralph Miliband. Commentators should attack real examples of anti-Semitism before trying to board the “it’s anti-Semitism!” bandwagon.

Alex Brummer, who is a journalist for the Mail, thinks apologies should be made by those who have suggested anti-Semitism by the Daily Mail. He’s right.

As Ed Miliband, himself, said when asked if the Daily Mail was being anti-Semitic:

“I’m always incredibly careful about throwing around the idea that the paper or somebody is anti-Semitic or racist unless there is real evidence for that.”

Hated ‘in’ Britain?

A guest post by Marc Goldberg

article-2439565-1869B7C000000578-142_638x415I’m more than a little bewildered by the amount of controversy surrounding the attack by the Daily Mail on Ralph Miliband, the father of the current head of the Labour Party in the UK, Ed Miliband – the man who looks set to lead his party to victory over the Conservatives in the next  general election. In an attack widely condemned in the UK, the newspaper launched a vigorous attack on the younger Miliband by going after his now deceased father. At one point, Geoffrey Levy, who penned the article, literally claimed that the veteran of the Royal Navy “hated Britain”, a ‘fact’ used in the title “The Man Who Hated Britain”.

The article generated widespread condemnation and some wonder whether there is more to it than a newspaper merely attacking a politician through his father.   You see, Ralph Miliband was a Jew and as a point of fact he was an ardent Socialist. There are some who see the spectre of anti-Semitism rearing its ugly head. If you’re in any doubt as to why some people immediately thought anti-Semitism, simply Google the term “Jewish Socialist”, then “Jewish Communist”, then “Jewish Bolshevik” and you’ll get the idea pretty quickly. Alternatively you can just watch Schindler’s List and count the number of times the Nazis who are killing Jews make those kinds of comparisons;

“An educated Jew, like Karl Marx himself.”

When I read the original article I simply came away from it thinking that Ralph Miliband was a deluded individual blindly hanging on to a dead ideology. I didn’t see anything in it that was offensive to Jews in general, and in fact it wouldn’t even have occurred to me to connect it with anti-Semitism if I hadn’t started hearing it from various directions around me.

With that in mind I read an article in the New Statesman written by Daniel Trilling who said something that really resonated with me, he wrote that;

“The subtext, further reinforced by the way the paper worded its refusal to apologise for running the piece, is that there’s something foreign about Ed Miliband himself. Never openly said, of course, but a series of snide digs that say – watch it, Ed, you’ll never be fully British and don’t you forget it.”

The irony of the fact that Trilling is writing this is that it’s exactly what Ralph Miliband wrote about British society and one of the quotes that was used against him to argue that he was somehow unpatriotic.  Miliband wrote:

“Foreigners, Jews, natives etc are all right in their place and their place is outside . . .”

This perfectly describes the feelings of the 21-year-old me as I left the UK for Israel. Perhaps as Levy suggests, this is the product of having “a giant sized social chip” on my shoulder but the fact that the words written by Ralph Miliband echoed my own thoughts decades later and that this quote was chosen by Levy in the first place as proof of Miliband’s alleged hatred of Britain combined with the fact that Trilling took this as the message inherent in the article is quite a coincidence.

What the Daily Mail has done is disturb a real fault line in the way that Jews in the UK perceive their own relationship with wider British society. This is a Jewish community that never had the same sense of pride at being a ‘British’ Jew or feeling of acceptance as our cousins in the United States at being American Jews.

The British Jewish community has always been of a “don’t rock the boat” mentality and everything will be fine, yet if even Ralph Miliband, the Marxist who left his Judaism way behind him and sired the head of the Labour Party could come under attack for not being British enough, then maybe the rest could too. A very worrying thought indeed. 

Commentators slam Glenn Greenwald for claiming ‘it’s our fault’ when Islamist terrorists attack

“terrorism” does not have any real meaning other than “a Muslim who commits violence against America and its allies”, so as soon as a Muslim commits violence, there is an automatic decree that it is “terrorism” even though no such assumption arises from similar acts committed by non-Muslims” – Glenn Greenwald, ‘Comment is Free’, April 22, 2013

…the term [terrorism] at this point seems to have no function other than propagandistically and legally legitimizing the violence of western states against Muslims while delegitimizing any and all violence done in return to those states. – Glenn Greenwald, ‘Comment is Free’, May 23, 2013

As this blog has documented continually, Glenn Greenwald is perhaps the most enthusiastic promoter of the Guardian Left narrative which suggests that there is no significant moral difference between reactionary Islamist movements and liberal Western democracies.  Greenwald often attempts to impute such moral equivalence by arguing, with varying degrees of explicitness, that the US (and other democracies involved in the war against Islamist terror) intentionally murder Muslim civilians.  

So, per Greenwald’s logic, the murder of Muslims qua Muslims by the West is what – quite understandably to Greenwald – inspires the wrath of Islamists in the West to commit lethal terror attacks against innocents, such as the recent savagery in London in which a British soldier named Lee Rigby was hacked to death by a British born convert to Islam named Michael Adebolajo

Greenwald’s specious moral logic, which serves to amplify the Islamist message that the West is indeed at war with Islam, has been exposed at this blog, and by quite a few other commentators.  

Here are a few suggested posts which effectively take on Greenwald, or at least fisk the logic he employs to arrive at the conclusion that it is our fault when Islamist terrorists murder civilians in the West.

Terry Glavin: ‘Fibbing about Terrorism and Badgering Muslims‘:

In my Ottawa Citizen column today I notice how moral illiteracy defines the way such reliably creepy arbiters of hip opinion as the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald and the American celebrity bullshit artist Michael Moore are responding to the Woolwich atrocity. Michael Moore tries to get a laugh out of his Twitter followers about it, in his usual cheap and vulgar way, but it is only the fuzzy timidities around the definition and the common use of the term “terrorism” that allow Greenwald to so easily and completely normalize what he presents as perfectly understandable Muslim revenge violence.

Zach Novetsky: ‘Glenn Greenwald Terrorizes Logic:

Whenever a radical Islamist commits a horrific act of violence or an act of terrorism, Glenn Greenwald is there with the same all-powerful explanation: it is our fault. More specifically, it is the fault of anyone living in the United States or any “loyal, constant ally” state, as he put it on Twitter. Terrorists, it seems, have no agency.

Norman Geras: ‘The pristine logic of Glenn Greenwald

Given the swamp of apologetics and obscurantism into which the Guardian newspaper has turned itself during the last decade, it may seem unfair to pick out one particular contributor to this ongoing journalistic enterprise as especially egregious. Over the years there have been so many voices to choose from in that regard: the Buntings, the Milnes, the Steeles, the Gopals; and then also all those occasionals who, just like the regulars, can’t wait to put together some soft piece of advocacy to the effect that we, the Western democracies, are just plain no good – though, having nothing better to offer for the time being themselves, these commentators make what effort they can to excuse regimes and movements for which no compelling case could be made by anyone of mature moral sensibility.

It has to be said nonetheless that the swamp has now acquired its own special low point, the name of which is Glenn Greenwald.

Marc Goldberg: ‘Terror according to Glenn Greenwald

There were several things that surprised me about [Greenwald's] article as they were so counter intuitive for me to read. I say counter intuitive because I thought that his views were based on concern with human rights and being anti prejudice. It is for that reason that I was surprised by his consistent use of the word Muslim. His own rhetoric in fact mirrors the rhetoric of al Qaeda

Alexander Wickham:This weeks utterly disturbing Leftists’

Greenwald’s equating of British soldiers to Islamist terrorists is even more repugnant. Of course the Left – and the Right for that matter – have legitimate criticisms over foreign policy, but to become so blinded by self-loathing that he blurs the distinction between good and evil, for me, makes Greenwald an apologist for terror

Richard Kemp: ‘Michael Adebolajo’s dangerous ignorance about Afghanistan

Michael Adebolajo, the knife-wielding, blood-soaked brute who is suspected of killing Drummer Lee Rigby told passersby he was fed up with people killing Muslims in Afghanistan. If that was the reason for Wednesday’s attack on Drummer Lee Rigby, Adebolajo should have travelled to Helmand and started wielding his knife against Taliban fighters. It is they who kill most Muslims in Afghanistan

Alan Johnson: ‘We need to talk about Islamism

In our intellectual culture religion is a mystery. That’s why the commentators mostly refuse to believe religion, any religion, can have anything to do with terrorism. So they either translate terrorists screaming “Allahu Akbar!” into something they can understand – economics, foreign policy, identity – or just change the subject altogether, writing instead (not as well) about the dangers of a racist backlash, the threat of the loss of civil liberties, and so on.

A letter to CiF Watch from the Guardian, via King Ahasuerus?

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Dear Mr Levick,

I am writing to inform you that we have been reviewing our codes of practice at ‘Comment is Free’ and have decided that closing your account and deleting your previous comments was unjustified.  We have therefore decided to re-open your account. Unfortunately your previous comments have already been removed from our systems and cannot be returned, but we would be happy to have you return to the below the line commentary.

Furthermore:

In the course of our review we came to several conclusions with regards to the character of the above the line writers at ‘Comment is Free’ and have reached a number of conclusions:

  1. We shall no longer be publishing commentary from contributors associated with terrorist groups.
  2. We will be seeking a greater breadth of above the line copy, including more commentary from Zionists.
  3. Our moderators have been instructed to adhere to the working definition of anti-Semitism as laid out by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency and to delete comments that do not adhere to this standard.  We have asked the Community Security Trust for help in this regard.

In short Mr Levick, thanks to organisations such as CiF Watch we have decided to fundamentally alter the way we approach contributions to ‘Comment is Free’ and the way that we deal with below the line comments.

Yours Sincerely

Natalie Hanman

Editor, ‘Comment is Free’ 

 

(This Purim Spiel was written by Marc Goldberg)

1 of 1000: First person account of ’04 apprehension of (newly released) Palestinian terrorist

A guest post by Marc

Amongst the names of Palestinian prisoners freed by Israel in the second wave of releases in exchange for Gilad Shalit was a man named Tastos Zaki Husni Sultan.

(Full list available here and in English here though only the Hebrew actually states the crimes they were indicted for).

I remember well the day we arrested him in his home town Nablus. Though it wasn’t what he eventually was convicted of, we were told at the time by the Shin Bet that the main reason he was important to the terrorist networks was that he was the link between Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Hezbollah.

We were also told that he would be armed and ready to fight when we came for him. He was convicted for (forgive the direct translations from the Hebrew):

“Firing at people, throwing Molotov cocktails, membership in an unknown terrorist organization, providing shelter to terrorists.”

The mission resulted in the arrest of both Tastos and another terrorist named Jamal Sa’adon.

Both were among the top 5 most wanted terrorists in the city and we had rehearsed the operation that would ultimately result in their capture many times. It was in 2004 (when I was approaching the end of my service) that that we grabbed them. We had already aborted the operation in various stages of carrying it out many times due to last-minute intelligence telling us that he was no longer in the hideout we were targeting.

The operation was considered so sensitive that military vehicles had been forbidden from driving past the apartment block that his family lived in for fear that it would spook him from returning there and ruin our chances of picking him up.

We were guarding the settlement of Migdalim when we were told to get our body armour on and pile into the vehicles. I didn’t think that the op was going to go ahead after it had already been aborted so many times, but the drivers gunned their engines and we were off. I waited for the mission to be aborted right up until the point that the vehicles stopped outside the building and we launched out into the hostile territory outside.

Once the residents of the block had been brought out of the building the search team went in, and no one was under any doubt that this man would come quietly. I spotted a hand emerge from the building to close a window when everyone was supposed to be outside. The squad commander directed the search team to an apartment they had already searched.

After the 2nd unsuccessful search they took no chances, and threw in a grenade.

Once the noise of the explosion died down the search team could hear muffled cries of surrender coming from somewhere deep within.  A hand emerged from a kitchen cabinet that was only waist-high. The terrorists had pulled a small brick out of the back of this cabinet and squeezed into a tiny hollow that they had carved out behind it.

We had only expected to find Tastos, so Sa’adon was an extra surprise, who had previously spent 17 years in an Israeli prison.  

After serving that term, he murdered the son of the mayor of Nablus by mistake while trying to kill the mayor – who he evidently considered to be too moderate. The list of his crimes was endless and he was not one of those released in the deal for Shalit.

Tastos had been a wanted man in the Casbah of Nablus for years prior to finally being captured. He had been responsible for terror attacks that had undoubtedly resulted in deaths of innocent civilians, and provided a level of technical sophistication to the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade that allowed them to perpetrate attacks and gain information that otherwise wouldn’t have been available to them.

But when the army came for him, when he was looking death in the face, he knew better than the fellow terrorists he inspired and so chose prison instead – despite the fact that he was armed when he surrendered.

Tastos is just one out of a thousand people who have now been thrown back into the mix for Gilad Shalit.  

There is no right or wrong answer to the question of whether it was worth it or not.

The whole country breathed a collective sigh of relief when Gilad came home and now we all just have to wait and see what damage terrorists like Tastos may do. 

Where the heart is

Marc Goldberg’s article of March 29th struck a particular chord for me because, as regular readers already know, I too am returning home to Israel after a three and a half year absence. Like Marc, I am happily trading a higher income and standard of living in Britain for a quality of life that only Israel can provide. Of course it will be a relief to return to an environment free of antisemitism and the underlying sense of threat which Marc describes, but there’s actually more to it than that. Put simply, the freedom of not having to apologise for who you are is beyond all financial considerations.

Comment of the thread (and possibly the month) had to be this one:

harvey21

29 Mar 2010, 4:40PM

Marc

Don’t be shy mate. Just cut to the chase.

The fact is the women are simply mind blowingly hot. especially in uniform. They dont fall over pissed out of their heads on any night of the week and dont tend to tow around half a dozen kids by 5 different fathers.

Other commentators demonstrated less humour and the response to the fact that Marc Goldberg has served in the Israeli Defence Forces was predictably venomous, reminding me of some of the reactions my children encountered in British universities.

SAEED28

29 Mar 2010, 10:10AM

you served in the IDF?

Served in the occupied west bank?

If you did then you are a disgrace and a war criminal…

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